Why should a bride and groom give their guests wedding favors? Well, your guests had to dress up, be on their best behavior, wait forever while you and your wedding party pose for photographs and buy you a gift. The least you can do is send them home with something to remember the day.
Many how-to-have-a-wedding-on-a-budget books sacrifice wedding favors to save money. And, frankly, some wedding favors deserve to be ditched. Remember matchbooks and napkins imprinted with the bride and groom's names and wedding date? Those have certainly fallen into disfavor, along with be-ribboned packets of rice and birdseed.
Rice, a symbol of fertility (a concept not as universally popular as it once was), turned out to give birds potentially fatal stomachaches. Then we did the politically correct thing and switched to birdseed, on which guests slipped and injured themselves.
But almonds, an ancient Greek symbol of long life and happiness, seem pretty safe. Many brides still choose to place a sweet treat of Jordan almonds at each place setting. Simple, yummy and inexpensive. (If money is no object, on the other hand, you might give what one recent California bride handed out as wedding favors--espresso makers.)
Whatever you have to spend on wedding favors, a little creativity can go a long way. Some brides who find ready-made favors to be expensive and unappealing are opting to design and make their own.
That's what Lisa and Jon Vandergriff of Pasadena did with an idea they saw first in a Martha Stewart magazine.
Stewart's favors featured a packet of daisy seeds attached to a card that read, "He loves me, He loves me not, He loves me yes, We've tied the knot."
Lisa, a California native, and Jon, originally from Tennessee, personalized the favors by stitching California poppy and Tennessee wildflower seeds into sheer fabric packets and attached to vellum cards that read "All things grow with love."
Whether putting a new twist on an old tradition or creating a new one of your own, here are a few ideas to get you started.
* Think about reviving the tradition of sending guests home with groom's cake, first popular in the 1860s. Newlyweds handed out pieces of boxed cake to their unmarried guests, who then slipped the cakes under their pillows to bring them dreams of their future mates. For single women, a version called "dream cakes" can be wrapped with strips of paper imprinted with the names of available men.
* Thank your guests for sharing your special day by writing a personal message on a scroll and tying it with a narrow ribbon and two miniature wedding rings, or putting the message into a small decorated frame.
* A group of potted miniature rose bushes tied together with ribbon makes an attractive centerpiece. When the reception is over, guests may take a rose bush home and plant it in honor of your marriage.
* Photographs are also a great way to personalize wedding favors. A recent photo of the couple or pictures of the bride and groom as children can be easily and inexpensively reduced and copied. If you want to add some zip, hand color the black and white copies (like old-fashioned photographs) with colored pencil. Turn them into thank-you cards or attach them to your favor.
Whatever you decide, your guests will appreciate a favor that says something special about you, and comes from the heart.